Defeat Bolsonaro now at the polls, prepare for a confrontation in defense of the interests of the social majority
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Defeat Bolsonaro now at the polls, prepare for a confrontation in defense of the interests of the social majority

National Coordination of the MES, June 5, 2022.

Coordenação Nacional do MES 5 jul 2022, 11:34

National Coordination of the MES, June 5, 2022

We are on the eve of a new electoral battle, which is already dominating the national political situation; and this battle is framed in a more general scenario: the deepening of the war in Ukraine, from the criminal Russian invasion, that puts the planet on alert, fearful of a global escalation. The effects of the war are amplifying hunger and inequality in all parts of the planet. The last two years have been marked by the Covid-19 pandemic that, although we have passed its peak in Brazil, continues to devastate entire regions of the globe, as illustrated by the recent lockdowns in China.

Brazil is part of the general contradictions: here, we have an extreme right-wing government, in the wake of an international dynamic, the worsening of living conditions for large portions of the population, and a looming political tension, the result of the general crisis.

In this framework, our VII National Conference of the MES, held at the end of November 2021, defined that we are in a situation of “transition,” where the main task was to lead a relentless struggle to remove Bolsonaro from office.

Since then, we have continued to deepen this orientation, now renewed by the most recent elements, such as the PSOL’s decision not to present its own candidacy in the first round, which we opposed, and the increasing electoral polarization.

We continue with the strength of those who led the first impeachment request, with more than a million signatures, and we were an active part of the street fights for Fora Bolsonaro, even when sectors appealed not to go to the streets.

In this brief national document we want to present our reading of the reality and the tasks we are committed to in the necessary fight.

The war and the multidimensional crisis

The catastrophe of war has parallels with two other processes that accelerate the contradictions of contemporary capitalism: the structural environmental crisis and the coronavirus pandemic. The general effects of the covid-19 pandemic have altered the habits and routines of billions of people, reaching almost 7 million official deaths, a number that must be higher if we think of the difficulties of sanitary control in the poorest countries. China is under the effect of heavy lockdowns.

To understand the war, its causes and consequences, it is important to characterize it and resort to concepts such as the multidimensional crisis that we have used from the contribution of the Fourth International. The various combined dimensions of the crisis are set in an even broader context of the crisis of US imperialism and geopolitical disorganization expressed most clearly by the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The general frameworks can be expressed in the following characteristics:

– Existence of an economic and social crisis in the world, with reduced possibilities for capitalism to guarantee better living conditions. On the contrary, we see more helplessness, hunger, misery, wage squeeze, unemployment, wars, and migratory waves. As Michael Roberts analyzes, we have ahead of us the possibility of a decade of economic depression that poses somber perspectives, although periods of growth and occasional crises may occur within this broader context in certain regions of the planet and economic sectors.

-A deep environmental crisis that increasingly acquires emergency characteristics from the so-called “point of no return” of global warming, indicated by some scientists for this decade. The climate change on the planet has caused changes in access to water, in the productivity of soils, in the multiplication of extreme events, among other examples, which directly influence the new global migratory flows of “climate refugees” coming mainly from Central America, Africa, and Asia. On the other hand, a global youth movement against the climate crisis that had mass expressions before the pandemic is also being strengthened.

-The pandemic has also highlighted the health crisis derived from the increasingly deep metabolic rupture between humanity and the planet, giving rise to a “new normal” in which new pandemic waves are the order of the day on a global scale, spread rapidly by the intense flows of global circulation of people and goods. The theme of care work and social reproduction becomes even more central in this context, highlighting the deep racialization and gendering of poorly paid women workers who mostly fall into this location of the social division of labor.

-There is a deep division in the dominant classes, which is expressed in the strengthening of the extreme right against liberals in the dispute for the destinies of bourgeois regimes. The crisis of the liberal bourgeois democracies takes place in a dynamic of polarization and emptying of the political centers, which also indicates possibilities for the radical left. Moreover, this division is also expressed in the absence of a hegemonic power and in the competition between the US and China, whose outcomes are open.

– All this combines with a crisis of direction of the mass movement and the communist program. The difficulties of the international reorganization of revolutionaries remain, even though there are important initiatives in this direction within the Fourth International and beyond. The lack of a revolutionary political alternative identifiable by the majority of the working class often leads to the strengthening of old and new opportunist outlets, often as distorted expressions of genuine processes of social struggle and democratic resistance.

I.1 War is a huge change in the world situation

The Russian invasion of Ukrainian territory is an unprecedented aggression. As part of the expansionist line of Russian imperialism, once again the drums of war are present in Europe. This is a change in the political situation.

In the face of Russian aggression, placing a new theater of operations in Eastern Europe, we have made a definition about the character of war:

“The escalation of the Russian military invasion in Ukraine already makes evident Vladimir Putin’s real intentions: to promote an imperialist war for the annexation of territories and the re-establishment of a puppet regime of Russia like the one that controlled the country before 2014. Putin does not accept the self-determination of the Ukrainian people and has already publicly declared himself against an independent state, using war to assert his imperialist interests in the region and repeating the same violence applied in the invasion of Georgia and in the collaboration with the repression promoted by the dictatorships of Belarus and Kazakhstan against their own peoples. “1

The Russian imperialist aggression against Ukraine has lasted for almost one hundred days. The war shakes the planet. After rounds of negotiations, attempts at a ceasefire have been frustrated. Some “humanitarian corridors” established in the first talks have been bombed. There are already more than 5 million war refugees. The conflict unfolds while the shadow of nuclear action hangs over the horizon, always vaunted by Putin’s Grand Russian chauvinism.

Contrary to what Putin and some of the leading military analysts predicted, there has not been a “lightning war,” with Kiev falling within a few weeks. Macron even offered exile to Zelesnki at the beginning of the military aggression, which he rejected, acting to lead the resistance. And it was the resistance of hundreds of thousands of civilians, in a real mass action against the external aggressor that stopped the Kremlin’s offensive. Putin’s action was based on the assumption that Ukraine should not exist, attacking Lenin and his defense of the right to self-determination of peoples during the announcement of the “special military operation.”

I.2 The consequences of the war

Besides the most immediate effects on the Ukrainian population, forced to abandon the regions directly impacted by the Russian occupation, the war has major economic impacts. Considering that the previous scenario was already one of increasing trade conflicts between China and the US, the war deepens a crisis situation that was already serious, with global impact.

Besides the impact on the gas supply for the European continent, the most serious consequence seen is on the food crisis. The World Bank points to the possibility of a global food supply crisis, given that Russia and Ukraine account for 30% of the world’s wheat exports and 20% of the world’s corn exports, as well as a large share of fertilizer production. The FAO’s (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) price index increased by 12.6% in the first month of the war alone, impacting inflation worldwide. This is an escalation of inflation that deeply affects the countries of Africa and South Asia, and especially the poorest layers of the population that commit ever larger portions of their income to food.

It is important to note that the war and the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic have already found the world economy under the effects of the 2008 crisis. China, the “engine” of the global economy, has already been slowing down, a situation that is worsened by new lockdowns. In the US, the situation is no different either, the world’s leading economy is also struggling to resume growth.

The scenario is all over the globe of resumed inflation: 7.9% in the US, 5.9% in the Euro zone, 9.2% in Russia, and more than 12% in Brazil. Governments in major economies are taking measures to contain inflation, but as Michael Roberts states, these measures are not:

“to help sustain employment and economic growth (…). This is because inflation is the main enemy of the banking system. Lenders and borrowers of money lose if inflation increases, while borrowers and borrowers gain. And central banks were created to support the financial sector and its profitability and not much else.”2

Even if the scenario of a warlike escalation does not present itself as a trend, since several countries involved have nuclear weapons, the effects of the war on Ukrainian territory are already devastating, since they meet a previous scenario of crisis, unemployment, food insecurity and devaluation of wages. A crisis for which there is no visible way out in the short and medium term.

As we have said, the world scenario is already altered by war. Whatever the prospects, the question of further disorder and chaos, of the already in crisis world order, is posed. In the concrete inter-imperialist struggle (on one side the US and NATO and imperialism, on the other, Russia in its relationship with Ukraine), in the long run there is no other gain than greater disorder in the world order. In the most concrete perspectives, there are two possible scenarios. Either a prolongation of the war, or an armistice and status quo pact, in which Russia would take the eastern region it has already occupied and tends to consolidate militarily. Biden’s idea of a total defeat of Putin seems to fade in light of the concrete situation and the current impossibility of troops in Ukraine imposing a withdrawal.

But this is an intermediate way out, since it means a defeat of Putin’s first plan of occupying the whole territory and by a puppet government, but with his control of the Eastern region. This policy is the one that seems to defend a sector of imperialism, in particular Germany that is most affected by the war. This solution postpones the struggle for self-determination for the Ukrainian people, but does not take it off the agenda of the aspirations of the masses that will later return to the struggle; possibly in the immediate future against the ultra-liberalism of Zelensky, who is gaining prestige for his stance on the war, but who remains harassed both by the impossibility of total military victory against Putin and by the extreme right that has grown stronger in resistance to the invasion after its political decay in recent years.

I.3 The Left and the War

Our tendency has been at the forefront of building activities against the war, spreading the declaration of the Fourth International and grouping different sectors that reject the campism that reduces criticism of Putin. We have carried out a series of initiatives, acts in consulates and embassies and a large international online event, which brought together leaders of socialist organizations from more than fifteen countries, against the aggression against Ukraine. Through the Emancipa Network, we have made contact with the Ukrainian Social Movement, a small socialist organization that today is the main grouping of the left in the country, as well as with Commons Magazine, the main editorial initiative of the Ukrainian left that makes up an international network in which Movimento Magazine will also be included.

We have sent a member of the national secretariat to make contact with the Polish left, as a gateway to the left in Eastern Europe. We will return to Poland in June for the congress of the Razem Party, where we will continue the relations and priority construction with groups from Ukraine, Poland, Russia, and the rest of Eastern Europe.

In this scenario, it was evident that it was right for us to join the international IV. The IV played a fundamental role in the combat against the campist positions, in the defense of militant internationalism and in the ideological combat that is fundamental to carve out a new generation of socialist leaders around the world, a generation that did not face the war scenarios that we had throughout the 20th century. This principled position also differed from the abstract politics of internationalist sectors that denounce the war, but are not consistent with supporting the Ukrainian resistance and stand against sending weapons.

In Brazil, the backwardness of the vanguard in the internationalist debate came to the fore, with a greater repercussion of neo-Stalinist positions. We cannot overestimate the reach of these positions, but the firm ideological combat is fundamental for the dispute, formation and preparation of the vanguard in a framework where disputes, wars and conflicts should become more present. The formalization of the application for NATO membership by Finland and Sweden are factors that may point to continued tensions in the region.

There is plenty of room for internationalist positions at the forefront. If in Brazil there is the mentioned delay, in Europe we saw demonstrations of solidarity with the Ukrainian people that gathered tens of thousands, in some places exceeding 100 thousand people, as in Berlin.

Finally, it is important to relate the growth of the extreme right worldwide also to the economic crisis and the “ways out” that the governments of the main world economies have sought, reinforcing protectionist measures that promote a nationalist ideology, within the framework of an intensifying trade war and economic crisis. Just as the economic crisis proves to be long-lasting, its effects, including the emergence and strengthening of the extreme right in several countries around the world, is also a medium-long term phenomenon.

I.4 A worldwide reorganization of revolutionary forces

The war in Ukraine has accelerated the debate on the world left in a much more acute way than it was before it. The debate between the campism and the internationalists has posed itself in a much clearer way. Every war of transcendence provokes this process (we need only remember the first world war and the degeneration of social democracy). Despite the enormous differences, this war has shown in a naked way the face of Putin’s new neo-Stalinism, totalitarian and “fascist”, inspired by the reactionary ideology of Alexander Dugin, and that is supported, or seen with sympathy, by a sector of the Campism that lines up as anti-imperialist on the front of the objective of neo-Stalinist totalitarianism in Russia, China, Nicaragua and Venezuela. This war has opened up the need for an objective regrouping among the internationalist forces, and in this sense the IV has an important role to play.

The campaign we are carrying out, in solidarity with the political prisoners of Ortega’s dictatorship from a leftist and anti-imperialist position, helps in this process.

The trip to the East is part of the hypothesis of strengthening a Trotskyist program and the regrouping of international revolutionary nuclei, to which we are contributing from our location in the Fourth, to build an organization superior in program, membership and militant forces to the current Trotskyist diaspora. In this sense, the relationship with other groups besides the IV also deserves to be highlighted, such as the Polish Razem itself, La Aurora of the Spanish state, the Portuguese MAS, the US Bread & Roses/DSA, among others…

2. National – polarization dominates the political situation

As we have defined, the defining mark of the national situation is the growth of polarization amidst the deepening economic crisis.

The discussion of the national political situation and the election are related, but they are not exactly the same thing. Discussing the national political situation, we also discuss an economic dynamic, the correlation of forces between the social classes, the strategies of sectors of the classes and of the political parties about this situation in which the election is a very important part also because it happens in a short period of time.

The political situation is not limited to the elections, also because we have in Brazil the scenario of a government that for the first time, after many years, is trying to organize militancy in a political strategy to change the political regime, to change the form of domination of the bourgeoisie by creating a political regime in which repression becomes more institutionalized than it is today. In spite of the failure of this extreme right-wing strategy to achieve its main objectives (closing the regime, creating a party), the crystallization of a radical right-wing core with important mass weight and capillarity in the police and armed forces represents a permanent element in the Brazilian correlation of forces.

The electoral poll released by Datafolha, last week, was a new fact in the conjuncture. Lula leads with 48% of voting intentions, against 27% for Jair Bolsonaro. The possibility of Lula’s victory in the first round is opening up.

2. 1 Social and economic crisis as background

We are living through a deep social and economic crisis, since 2014 Brazil has been living with a reality of stagnation. The lack of growth has reflected both in the unemployment rate and in the quality of jobs generated. The generation of jobs in Brazil has been especially through informal, platform, partial or “casual” work. Even with a slight upturn in employment with the recession of the pandemic and the sanitary measures, today the unemployment rate is above 11%, with more than 11 million people unemployed, besides the under-utilization, which reaches 23% of the employed population.

This situation is worsened in a scenario of decomposition of labor income, with the growth of inflation, which erodes the purchasing power of those who are still employed. Inflation remains high, the IPCA for the last 12 months is 12.13%, but the situation is even more serious for the poorer population, because food inflation, since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, has already reached almost 40%.

The economic scenario shows no signs or perspectives of recovery. The deep crisis in which Brazil finds itself, at least since 2014, has no prospects for growth, even because the country is in a broad and deep process of deindustrialization, which regresses the national production structure, making it specialize increasingly for the production of commodities.

The social crisis is impressive. We are back to a desolating scenario regarding food insecurity. After decades, hunger is again a reality. A survey done during the pandemic shows that 116.8 million Brazilians did not have full and permanent access to food. Of these, 43.4 million (20.5% of the population) did not have enough food (moderate or severe food insecurity) and 19.1 million were going hungry. The 31% increase of homeless people in the city of São Paulo over two years of the pandemic is another tragic indication of the social crisis.

The structure of this crisis scenario is marked by the racialization of the Brazilian working class, which is expressed in blacks as more than two thirds of this unemployed population and in so many other examples, and affects black women in a harder way especially. The genocidal public security policy that uses the fallacious justification of the war on drugs to militarize the peripheries, criminalizing poverty and systematically executing young black men.

Brazil is experiencing a phenomenon of “decadence” in the international scene as a country due to deindustrialization and the predatory model based on the export of goods with low added value, the hypertrophy of soy, extensive livestock farming, and predatory mining. The crisis in the Brazilian countryside is analogous to the lack of food in the city.

All this develops in a context of deepening of an ecocidal policy that bets on the expansion of agricultural borders, soil poisoning and waste disposal, deepening the socio-environmental impact and affecting the entire population. This policy of Bolsonaro was expressed notably by the former minister Ricardo Salles and put Brazil in the international debate in a demoralizing way.

In the beginning of 2022 we had a wave of strikes by municipal employees. It is a reality that should persist and deepen for the following year, given the resumption of activities and the aforementioned loss of purchasing power of wages, with the return of inflation.

What is important to note here is that the economic crisis scenario has no perspective of improvement in the short or medium term. This poses the possibility (and even the tendency) of new waves of economic struggles, of new sectors entering the scene.

2.2 Bolsonarism doubles the coup bet

It is fundamental, in order to analyze Bolsonaro’s coup escalation, to understand the moment in the context of the crisis opened in 2013. Not in the sense that the PT and its satellites give to the June days, but understanding that June provoked a deep fracture in the Brazilian bourgeois regime, which was managed with relative stability by the PT governments. What June showed was the incapacity of the PT to manage the discontent. From June on, a significant portion of the Brazilian bourgeoisie broke with the PT and started to look for other projects to manage their businesses.

Bolsonaro is the result of a situation that ends up converting a portion of bourgeois politics, because he is a bourgeois politician that organized himself with bourgeois sectors with a far-right project. And this project has a military fraction expressed in more than 6,000 positions of trust that are in the government. It is part of a worldwide phenomenon, the far right exists all over the world, but not everywhere it is governing. So Bolsonaro is very exemplary, because here the far right is governing. It is governing in Brazil, it is governing in Poland, in Hungary, in the Philippines. It tried to win the French election and lost. Halfway through Bolsonaro’s term, Donald Trump’s defeat in the United States was a destabilizing factor for the government.

On the other hand, Bolsonaro’s inability to manage business and his bet on increasing police barbarism as a public safety policy led to deep divisions in the bourgeoisie that supported him. Already in the first year of his administration, Globo and other media, such as Folha S.Paulo, representatives of important portions of the Brazilian bourgeoisie, broke with the government and moved to the opposition camp. The ruptures of bourgeois sectors with Bolsonaro were also expressed in national politics, with the exit of Moro and then Mandetta from the government. The important fact to mark, is that there is no unity of the Brazilian bourgeoisie around the project of regime change represented by Bolsonaro, and this matters.

Some speak that it is not a question of whether Bolsonaro will attempt an assonade-or his “robbery of the capitol”-but “when.” This possibility is directly linked to the future intra-bourgeois negotiations for the possible transition of government. To confront the risk that this situation poses, it is necessary to bet on mass, street mobilization, not just electoral mobilization, and on beginning to patiently explain to the mass movement the need to build its self-defense.

2.3 The third way on the road to shipwreck

The crisis of alternative, which we always analyze from the point of view of the working class, is also occurring and deepening from the point of view of the bourgeoisie. The greatest expression is the crisis of the self-styled “third way,” a crisis, first of all, of the PSDB, the party that has maintained the hegemony of bourgeois politics in Brazil since the mid-1990s.

The difficulties of this more traditional sector of the Brazilian right, represented mainly by PSDB, DEM (now União Brasil) and MDB have been coming since 2018, when a part of these sectors unified for Bolsonaro’s victory. The “Bolsodoria”, Bolsonaro and Doria, Governor of Sao Paulo, coalition, was an expression of this unity. Part of the sectors that referenced the traditional parties of the Brazilian right, after the unity of 2018, remain with Bolsonaro. Doria moved to the opposition side, the governor of Rio, Wilson Witzel ended up suffering impeachment, which increased the fissure between the bourgeois sectors and Bolsonaro’s loss of space in the superstructure.

The stagnation of the “third way” occurs at a conjuncture in which the electoral dispute begins to gain body, with Bolsonaro betting everything on the relative recovery of the latest polls to guarantee his place in the second round, even though his chances of final victory are increasingly distant. Thus, Moro dropped out of the race and João Doria announced his withdrawal after seeing his candidacy imploded by the very top of the PSDB. Now, the candidacies of Simone Tebet – highly questioned for not being an expressive name and because the “old foxes” of the MDB are already with Lula, such as Calheiros, Barbalho, Eunicio and even Sarney – and Bivar are in the running. Ciro’s already dwindling space is also starting to dwindle, as he beckons to the bourgeoisie around the traditional right and fights with the weapons he has to stay in the race, until now.

On the other hand, faced with the tragedy of the current government, part of the bourgeoisie is gradually turning to Lula’s candidacy, seeing in the former president the possibility of defeating Bolsonaro. The presence of Alckmin on the presidential ticket has this sense and this meaning. The PSDB-DEM bloc, which hegemonized bourgeois representation in the period of the New Republic, has been emptied out, on one side by Bolsonarism, and on the other by the front formed by Lula.

2. 4 The PT, its strategy and political location

On the electoral terrain, the democratic bourgeois party agreed to make a deal with the PT. Or rather, to remake its agreement with the PT. Part of this was the operation in the STF for Lula’s release from prison and the annulment of the Curitiba trials, based on the assessment that he would be the only one with the electoral capacity to defeat Bolsonaro. Since then, Lula has been leading the polls. Recently he launched the Lula-Alckmin slate, which is a very powerful deal. The Alckmin piece on Lula’s chessboard is not a minor piece, it is the governor of São Paulo for 16 years. He will play a key role in the campaign, just as he will play a key role in an eventual government.

It is not a publicly expressed agreement, but it is the agreement of Lula and FHC, the agreement of those who set up the New Republic. The goal is to refound the New Republic and prevent Bolsonarism from advancing in a regime change process.

Lula fulfills two roles. On the one hand, he will have to make his slate an increasingly bourgeois democratic front, almost national unity slate to defeat Bolsonaro. As the third way fails, these sectors have to define themselves on one side or the other.

Lula will make the effort to be even more representative of bourgeois interests. Lula’s job is to win the election and above all to dismantle Bolsonaro’s coup project. It is a work of construction within the institutions, the Supreme Federal Court, with the allied governors, with relations in the armed forces and the police, in short, within all the institutions of the bourgeois state, in order to intimidate Bolsonaro and to prevent him from carrying through to the last consequences his coup attempt.

The tension in the air is about what they will do with Bolsonaro’s coup project, how they will try to convince him not to take this step. This will be a struggle of the “institutions”, to, if at all, restrain Bolsonaro.

The “via Lula” is part of this process. Lula already has the confidence of the market and speculates an interlocutor: Pérsio Arida. Economist trusted by FHC, one of the fathers of the Real Plan. The government will be accepted as a government at the service of capital, within the general interests of Brazilian capitalists.

3. PSOL and the dilemmas of the radical left

3.1 The uncritical adherence to Lulism

The PSOL defined on April 30th its support for Lula-Alckmin in the first round. This was not our position. As we stated during the last period in which the PSOL had this debate, we ourselves would consider this hypothesis in a scenario in which Lula would have difficulties going to the second round. In the same way, guided by the need to defeat Bolsonaro, we would also consider this hypothesis in a scenario where Lula could be victorious in the first round. This point is important to point out that supporting Lula in the first round, although it is a mistake in a scenario where Lula leads the electoral race, does not mean, by itself, a change in the nature of the PSOL.

The question for the PSOL after defining its support for Lula is not to be diluted. This is the challenge: to act in the present, in Lula’s campaign, but already preparing for future confrontations. It is not a simple task, because the current majority of the PSOL is formed by organizations that do not have the same understanding about the role that the PSOL should have, which is to build a tool for the political struggle of the class that overcomes the PT on the left, with an anti-capitalist and independent profile. These are organizations that did not found the PSOL, and we say this not by mere demarcation, but because this fact reveals this fundamental, strategic difference, about whether or not it is necessary to make the PSOL a project to overcome the PT.

And this is not just any difference. It is at the base of the party disagreements about what relationship to establish with Lula’s campaign and with the PT. Organizations like Primavera and Revolução Solidaria do not have programmatic differences with the PT, since they joined the Party, each one at its own time, defended the “popular democratic” program. This has two consequences: first, in the relationship that they have established with Lula’s campaign (which we will explore further below); second, in their position of defending participation in the probable next government (just as they already defend participation in PT governments in the municipalities, even where parties of the traditional right are participating). It is no wonder, therefore, that their position of support for Lula is in the form of complete adherence to the PT discourse and project of “rebuilding the country”.

3.2 Differences between critical voting and programmatic agreements

Given our definition of complying with the resolution of the PSOL Electoral Conference, it is necessary to develop our position on our participation in Lula’s campaign, the differences in the PSOL also lie in this point.

As we have stated in the previous points, we are going through a deep world economic crisis, aggravated by the climate crisis, the Covid-19 pandemic and, more recently, the war in Ukraine. This reality, added to the characterization of the eventual Lula-Alckmin government, indicates that this possible next government will not account for the needs of the broad mass of the population that, as also pointed out earlier, suffers from unemployment, precariousness, hunger, and inflation. The economic situation is very different from when Lula first governed.

If in the 2003-2010 period Lula already sponsored attacks on the working class, such as the 2003 Social Security Reform, the handing over of public assets to private interests, attacks on the civil service, and an environmental policy oriented by the predatory exploitation of nature, as in the Jirau, Santo Antônio, and Belo Monte projects, why nurture the illusion that in 2023 we could have a “progressive” government maintaining the macroeconomic tripod, which reproduced the institutional design of the Real Plan, that the text mentions above. Given the conversations with Arida, can you strengthen the argument for continuity? We cannot be part of those who deceive the working class.

As we stated in our editorial after the Electoral Conference3, we can only bet on the strength of the mobilized people, the unions, the social movements from the countryside and the city, the strength of women, black people and youth. We cannot sow illusions, like stirring up a supposed “dispute over a leftist program for Lula”.

In the current majority of the party leadership, what we see is exactly the opposite. Declarations that the role of the PSOL is to elect a strong party to “help govern”, or references to an eventual Lula-Alckmin government as “our government”, adherence to the petist slogans that say that electing Lula means having “a happy Brazil again”, as if this had been the reality during the petist governments.

The PSOL, and especially our organization, cannot endorse this discourse. We have to tell things as they are. Our vote for Lula is, above all, a vote against Bolsonaro. We cannot be part of those who will reaffirm Lula’s leadership over the working class because to do so goes against the policy that we will need to carry out in the following period. In this sense, to talk about governing together, as Primavera and Revolução Solidaridad do, is unacceptable, and to deceive the mass movement about what Lula represents and what his project is, talking about “disputing the government’s program,” as the Resistencia does, is also a mistake.

3.3 Room for the Left, Polarization, and Political Struggle

To a certain extent, the movement around Lula’s candidacy will have the character of a broad democratic movement, rejecting the Bolsonaro government and the tragedy that its four years of government have meant. It is still too early to specify the dimension of this movement.

3.4 Even without precision, we can point to some tendencies.

The trauma that the Bolsonaro government meant, beyond the objective reality, had a great impact in the subjectivity of the class, implying a retreat in the level of consciousness of the mass movement. In what we can assess so far, most of the movement in support of Lula also has a character of programmatic support, support for alliances, support for the programmatic retreat. They reflect the petist formulation itself, which intends to “combat” the extreme right with more and more moderation. We cannot forget that the experience with the PT in government was interrupted by the impeachment. There is an accumulation of this experience, since the PT governed for 14 years, but it was not completed. This explains the adhesion of a good portion of those who support Lula to the conciliation project. This portion should only advance in consciousness after a new experience, starting in 2023.

However, as said, the experience with the PT governments did exist. June 2013 existed. And there is no experience in vain. A good part of these sectors will also be part of Lula’s campaign. There will be a portion of Lula’s supporters who will be to the left of the PT. In fact, they already are. These are sectors that have driven the struggles of the last period, from June 2013, through the women’s spring, the 2017 general strike, #EleNo, the Education Tsunami, the black uprising, and the anti-fascist movements. They fought against Bolsonaro even when the Petist leadership claimed it was not the time for mobilizations.

There will be room, even within Lula’s campaign, to organize a radicalized sector, which supports Lula simply because it wants to “get rid” of Bolsonaro, but aims for a radical program. This sector, although a minority, can either be organized by the PSOL, by us, or, in the absence of spokespersons for their aspirations, be won for the politics of conciliation. It is fundamental that our figures, our militancy, our candidates, vocalize this position of voting for Lula against Bolsonaro, without illusions, and knowing that the future will be a confrontation with the PT government. This is what in our tradition we call the politics of unity and confrontation. Organizing this sector from now on will determine our capacity to dispute the direction of the mass movement in the following period.

From the point of view of the left outside of the PSOL, the space will be very small, not only because of the legal difficulties that remove the PSTU, UP and PCB from the debates and TV time, but also because of the real polarization that is being imposed. Added to this, it is also worth mentioning the self-proclaimed political line of these sectors, such as the UP that prevented unity with the PSTU and Conlutas in the middle of the Povo na Rua assembly, during the struggles of fora Bolsonaro. Therefore, you will not have one, but two or three smaller candidacies, with no media or political space, unable to unite in a pole. Which does not mean that we should not seek these sectors for future struggles or for combats on the terrain of the streets, such as union and student lists, our constant task.

Another problem will be the PCdoB, that with all the weight among the youth and in the union and social spaces, will have difficulties of public expression due to its location in the federation – quite asymmetric – with the PT and PV. The criticism that internal sectors of this party made to the petist hegemonism will be verified in practice, causing disturbances to the profile and identity of the PCdoB, in the face of the next governments.

What we do affirm is that the best location is to postulate an independent space, from the PSOL, with its own programmatic and anti-capitalist profile. Thus, we will postulate ourselves in the elections and in the mass movement. In this sense, the approval of the federation with Rede guaranteeing the autonomy of the parties and the possibilities of democratic expression of its diverse political forces was important to help guarantee the important institutional space that the PSOL must continue to maintain.

Our majority campaigns in the states will have the responsibility of advocating programmatic mass agitation.

4.1 The Bolsonaro No More! Comities

An initiative that we should bet on are the Bolsonaro Nunca Mais! Comities. It is a possibility to boost spaces with this character described above, from below, radicalized, connected with the sectors that have been at the forefront of the struggles against the current government.

The element of mobilization, beyond this connection of youth with Lula’s campaign, is fundamental in the election to seek the vote for our candidates for federal, state, senate and state governments. But it is also strategic to confront the coup politics and for the future, because our bet to confront the bourgeoisie and its two wings is mobilization, with independence and people in the streets.

We have to seek to be the electoral and organizational reference for this sector.

4.2 The struggle for an independent PSOL

The struggle for an independent PSOL will be central. The pressures to join an eventual Lula government – which would be to cross the rubicon – increase with the polarization. The last battle, however, has not been fought. In 2023, we must combine, in the face of the confirmation of this hypothetical scenario, a tenacious public fight with our tribunes and the organization of the PSOL dispute, inside and outside, dialoguing with activism. It will be a year of the PSOL congress, even with its distorted formulas, that use criteria of affiliates and not of militants, we must dispute building its left-wing fraction.

We must not lose sight of this long-term struggle, it emulates the real marathon that cadres and the leadership must run, to have a concentrated effort on the electoral tactics for reelection.

4.3 Program and orientation

In the first place, our orientation is to throw all our forces for the defeat of Bolsonaro. This is already consolidated among our cadres. In addition, the renewal of the mandates of our federal legislators, Sâmia, Fernanda and Vivi, is a top priority. This added to the reelection of our state deputies, Luciana Genro, Fábio Felix and Mônica Seixas from the Black Campaign, besides electing Josemar Carvalho. We are betting that the defeat of Bolsonaro is only a first stage, that the fight will continue in the next period even in the hypothesis of Lula’s victory. Our spokespersons in the Federal Chamber will play a fundamental role to vocalize the class demands that will not be solved by the election.

Besides this, we have to promote our own initiatives, with our “face”, our method of struggle and our program.

Our candidacies (proportional and majoritarian) should also be a space for organization, construction and mobilization. The PSOL’s position of not launching its own candidacy, although it harms the scope of our politics, does not affect our proportional campaigns to the same extent. Even with our own candidacy, these candidacies have a high degree of organizational autonomy, initiatives, and construction of their own spaces. What does change is the reach that we can have from these campaigns in a highly polarized election.

5. Elements of the program

For the necessary defense of an independent, authentic PSOL, connected with the foundational project, it will be fundamental the demarcation by our figures and candidates of programmatic points. We need to deepen the programmatic debate, listing fundamental points with transitional character and that will mark our profile and our programmatic separation from petism.

Here we list some fundamental points, flags that we should raise as a way out of the crisis, presenting them in this context. The campaign against billionaires, expressed in the slogan “Billionaires Shouldn’t Exist!”, is connected to the deep crisis we are going through, with the growth in poverty that occurs at the same time that the fortunes of billionaires increase. It is necessary to defend jobs and rights, in the face of precarization, as well as the valuation of wages eroded by inflation.

Similarly, calling into question the interests of financial capital is fundamental, in this sense, agitating for the audit of the public debt remains fundamental (a flag abandoned by Boulos’ 2018 campaign). Radical agrarian reform is an urgent necessity in the face of the food supply and inflation crisis.

The pandemic crisis has highlighted the importance of science, research, and the public health structure. Defending an investment program in public Universities, which concentrate scientific production in the Country is a crucial point, as well as the defense of another development model, with the fight against predatory exploitation of nature, defense of biomes and the Amazon.

Therefore, we propose:

VOTE LULA 13 AGAINST BOLSONARO

Defeat the extreme right in the streets and at the ballot box.

– Organize social mobilization to stop the coup plotters. Prepare committees to face the delegitimization of the ballot box.

– Prison for Bolsonaro and his family. Dismantling the mafias, following the investigation of those responsible for Marielle’s death.

– Opening the secrecy of those involved with coup acts. Prison for Daniel Silveira and co.

– An end to the genocidal security policy against the black and indigenous populations.

– Convene the mass movement to discuss self-defense.

– A policy for the low military officers, defense of salaries and associative rights.

– End of the STM. Investigate the denunciations made by Miriam Leitão about the crimes of the dictatorship.

2. For an economy focused on the majority of the people and on life

– Neither hunger nor billionaires should exist! Let the rich pay for the crisis! For the taxation of large fortunes!

– Audit the public debt now! For a front of debtor countries!

– End of PPI! Petrobras 100% public! For the reduction of fuel prices!

– End of Central Bank autonomy. For the nationalization of the financial system.

– Amnesty for indebted families. Program to clean the names of millions in SPC and Serasa

– Public and state control of trading in cryptocurrencies.

– Agrarian reform now! For a new model of food distribution. If the country doesn’t plant, the city doesn’t dine.

– For a program for youth! Against the bill to charge tuition fees at universities! In defense of science and public universities!

– No to administrative reform! In defense of public service!

In defense of the common, the public, and workers’ rights

– Repeal the reforms (labor, social security, and political)! No worker without rights! For employment and wage valuation!

– Income redistribution for workers, retirees and pensioners. Policies to reduce working hours without reducing wages, thus promoting the creation of new jobs, and an income program for domestic work.

– Priority to SUS. Massive investment and an end to OS’s!

– No to administrative reform! In defense of public service!

4. For an ecosocialist Brazil

– Defense of indigenous lands, against the temporal mark.

– Regulation of mining and extractive processes.

– Defense of the Amazon.

– End of land grabbing.

– Financing of energy transition, zero deforestation, respect for nature and guarantee of rights for indigenous, traditional and quilombola peoples.

– Inclusion in international protocols for climate defense.

– Urban reform to remove housing from slopes and risk areas.

5. For more rights. For the end of the genocide of black youth, defense of women, of the LGBTQI population

– Combat police violence and over-incarceration of the black population.

– To confront structural racism in the State, in companies, and in social organizations.

– Fight for a program to defend sexual diversity and debate gender in schools.

– Care work: The valorization of this work, which is feminine, is an increasingly latent feminist agenda. Women are the majority in health and education.

– Recognition of maternity as work, including in the calculation of retirement, defense of women’s reproductive rights and the fight against gender violence.

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Parlamentares do Movimento Esquerda Socialista (PSOL)

   

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